Eisha Sarmad, a recent graduate of Rockland Community College, is one of 60 high-achieving community college students nationwide selected to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship aims for Cooke Scholars to complete their undergraduate education with as little debt as possible. The award, which is “last dollar funding” after all institutional aid, can provide Sarmad with as much as $55,000 a year to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Eisha Sarmad is an honors student who graduated with her A.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science in May with a 3.98 GPA. Outside of class, Eisha is a dedicated volunteer—not only through the organization People to People but also in her role as a sophomore senator in RCC’s Student Government Association. She worked hard to support her local community by facilitating a project that provided backpacks to over 3000 school children in need. She also coordinated a fundraising effort for people in Pakistan affected by a devastating flood. Moreover, Eisha brought this emphasis on servant leadership to her work as an intern with Lumen Learning, an educational tech non-profit focused on the creation of open educational resources supported by adaptive courseware. Eisha’s efforts were focused on interviewing students using Lumen’s interactive Statistics text to gather data about their experience. She then used this data to propose modifications to the course that would specifically benefit under-represented students. Over the course of her time at RCC, Eisha has repeatedly demonstrated her passion for making the world around her a kinder and more equitable place.
“Eisha is a shining example of what can be accomplished when you work hard and stay focused on what you want to achieve. She is a role model and an inspiration to others, and we have been proud to have her start her educational career at Rockland Community College,” states Katherine E. Lynch, Ph.D. Officer in Charge of Academic Affairs.
Sarmad has won a Jack Kent Cooke undergraduate transfer scholarship at a time when the applicant pool is growing. This year, overall undergraduate enrollment has remained comparable to last year’s numbers. However, for the first time in several years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, community college enrollment has increased by 2% nationwide.
“There are so many bright and persistent community college students in our nation who we know will thrive at four-year institutions if they can find a way to transfer without being weighed down by a heavy financial burden,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We are excited to welcome yet another cohort of Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars to our community after learning about them through their applications and seeing their unbound potential.”
Along with financial support, new Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of more than 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni.
This year, more than 1,700 students from 448 community colleges applied to receive the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on the student’s academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership.
A list of the 2023 Cooke Transfer Scholars, including their community colleges, can be found here.